Lledoner (Celtis australis)
The European nettle tree, also known as European Hackberry or Lote tree (Celtis australis), is a deciduous tree that can grow up to 20 or 25 m in height. Here in Mallorca, this tree is called the Lledoner.
A truly exceptional sample of this tree can be admired since probably 400 years somewhere not far from Felanitx, to the East of the island, but you have to ask nicely, or else I won’t say where. The Lledoner is often planted as an ornamental as it is resilient to air pollution.
Birds love the small fruit. Wikipedia claims that the fruit of this tree is sweet and edible. Apparently, the fruit can be eaten raw as well as cooked. But, I do not know of anyone local who ever has tried it. I certainly haven’t, much as I admire the attractive appearance of this tree.
It seems proven, however, that both the leaves as well as the small fruit of the Celtis australis have ample medicinal properties. The leaves and fruit are astringent, lenitive and stomachic. The decoction of both leaves and fruit is used in the treatment of amenorrhoea, heavy menstrual and intermenstrual bleeding and colic. The decoction can also be used to astringe the mucous membranes in the treatment of diarrhoea, dysentery and peptic ulcers.
The European Nettle is supposed to have been the Lotus of the ancients, whose fruit Herodotus, Dioscorides, and Theophrastus describe as sweet, pleasant, and wholesome. Homer has Ulysses refer to the ‘Lotus-eaters’ and the ‘lotus’ in Odyssey.